The Minister of Interior, Oliver Spasovski, talks about the connection between the illegal arms trade and organized crime in the country and the region. The conversation with Minister Spasovski took place on December 17, 2021, and is part of the activities of the CIVIL project “Past, present and future of arms control in the Republic of North Macedonia” with the support of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Resilience Fund.
“The problem of uncontrolled proliferation of small arms and light weapons has risen to the top of the international, regional and national agenda in recent years. From time to time we witness that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is often a catalyst that transforms localized incidents into global events,” Spasovski told CIVIL.
The Minister informed that for that purpose, global and national activities are important, together with well-coordinated national and regional cooperation of all law enforcement agencies in strengthening control over the production and trade of weapons, building standards for the development of effective surveillance systems, exchange of information and transparency, sharing of best practices as well as raising public awareness through implementation of programs to promote and support the reduction and arms control in public education.
“We, as the Ministry of Interior, are implementing activities in the field of control of small arms and light weapons and in the future will continue to actively implement all planned activities, in order to achieve greater results in raising public awareness of the dangers of misuse of firearms, prevention of arms trade, as well as the establishment of efficient systems for exchanging information” – said Minister Spasovski.
All these activities are foreseen in the National Strategy for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Action Plan of the Republic of North Macedonia for the period 2017-2021 and after the evaluation of the Strategy, the process of preparing a new Strategy for the period 2022-2025 has already begun to be implemented from 2022, and it will be fully in line with the objectives set out in the Roadmap.
The National Strategy is a general framework of activities of the Republic of North Macedonia aimed at control, prevention and eradication of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their components, as well as ammunition. They are guidelines for improving the existing ones, as well as for developing new measures, mechanisms and instruments for control, prevention and eradication of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons” – said Spasovski.
The fight against illicit arms and ammunition trafficking, including the use of firearms in organized crime, violent crime, illicit drug trafficking and other areas, is an important segment in dealing with internal risks and security threats of each state.
Building and establishing a system by establishing procedures and mechanisms for controlling legal and illegal arms flows has a significant impact on security. It is because of these facts that the Roadmap brings that added value to all our countries, given the fact that its implementation will bring about a change in the research mindset, establish mechanisms for focusing on weapons and proactively collecting, disseminating and sharing all information available through an integrated information management system.
“There is a serious link between organized crime and firearms, and terrorism. After all, any organized crime ends in terrorism. So, the better mechanisms established by the states, both in the field of small arms and light weapons monitoring and data exchange, the more it can guarantee the security of its citizens” – concluded Minister Spasovski.
Camera and photography: Dehran Muratov
Video editing: Arian Mehmeti